My Dad introduced a YouTube video called, “The Tale of Two Brains” by Mark Gungor. His video was a comedy show depicting his notion of men vs women brain wiring. In his video, he suggests that people, both male and female, have a mental warehouse of boxes in their heads that catalogs everything we know about the world. One box is reserved for your usual routines for your job, another is reserved for the operation of a car, another for food and so on. The big difference between the two genders is that men open one box at a time while women open several boxes at the same time.
Although Mark’s philosophy was presented as a comedy sketch, it does make some poetic sense in the regards of how to explain the way the two genders think. Coupled with the fact that men’s brains have more grey matter than women (the data processing parts of the brain) and women’s brains contain more white matter than men (the data cables that transmit information to different parts in the brain) only validates his reasoning.
If I were to explain my brain in this manner, I would say my mental warehouse of boxes would be different to how Mark would describe it. My cardboard metaphors would not be so uniformed or as neatly organized on the shelves. If I were to give my mental warehouse form, I would describe it like a small room filled with an odd collection of containers with all my boxes stacked on top of each other on random piles and in the middle of this room is a work desk where I consult my business with each case.
For example, every movie I’ve watched would rest in a long, see-through-plastic container filled with VHS cassettes (product of being a child of the 90’s). I would have my memories of High School in an old Office Depo box and filled with old keepsakes from that time. For everything relating to my job, it would rest in nondescript shipping box. Matters that concerned my car was in a glovebox off to the side. My profile filing cabinet that relates names and faces often gets pushed into the back behind everything else. Subjects regarding to Legos, games, and other simple delights lay in wait in an extra big toy chest (I’m a kid at heart).
Alongside the containers I require to function from day to day, there are some I wish I could live without.
-Such as the small sinister black box that lays abandon in a corner of my room. Inside it are profiles of people that have hurt me in the past. Every so often the lid of this box will jar loose and corrupt my thoughts with taunting echoes of my failures. (not to be confused with my skeleton in the closet)
-Another problematic box is the one containing my social repertoire. I have once explained before. It is the mental bank of social of knowing what to do in specific situations. I think there is a leak in this box. I’ve come a long way from where I’ve been, but I still feel this container is never full or ready for action at a moment’s notice. I can joke, I can be playful, but only when I have been around someone I have known for a while.
-Some people can hold conversations like flowing water. Me? I need to fish for words out of a dictionary before I can make a conversation. Such as the function of the box of words, brother box to the social repertoire. Anytime I want/need to talk to someone, I need to collect little strips of paper with printed words and then arrange them in proper order.
This mental process is why it takes me so long to formulate a response. If I try to rush this process, then my messages come out all garbled (This is more commonly known as Word Cluttering). I required some speech therapy before my vocabulary messes got better, my messages became clearer, and the word fishing became easier.
Although his intent was to make his audience laugh, I believe Mark Gungor has provided perhaps one of the simplest ways to explain the human mind. I hope this warehouse and box themed metaphor has provided a accrete tour inside my head and I hope it brings some clarity to how others with autism think as well.